Interpol – Interpol (2.5/5)
Bands use the self-titled album as a means of telling their fans that they’re going back to basics, that this album will rediscover what made the band great in the first place. That’s almost assuredly what Interpol wished to communicate by releasing a self-titled album after their critically derided Our Love to Admire. Unfortunately, despite whatever good intentions, Interpol’s latest fails to live up to the promise of their first two moody and exhilarating albums.
Interpol starts off promising with “Success,” a song built almost entirely upon their muscular rhythm section. However, by the second song, “Memory Serves,” many of the album’s reoccurring weaknesses quickly become apparent. Like much of the album, “Memory Serves,” relies too heavily on a feeble and repetitive chorus that lead singer, Paul Banks, strains to sell like he’s some sort of low level stock broker. Lyrically the album trades in the sort of over worn love loss that mistakes clichés for directness. In “Summer Well” Banks pleads, “I miss you babe / I want you back,” and as a listener I can only think to myself, “Who cares?” Interpol have never been known for their lyrical prowess, but on their first two albums you could count on them to use obtuse abstraction now and again to set the mood.
That’s not to say that Interpol doesn’t have its good moments. The orchestration on “Always Malaise” and the piano on “Try it On” point to a fuller sound that still might reinvigorate the band. Unfortunately, even the interesting sonic tricks on Interpol are buried under thick production that flattens any dynamics in their sound. These aren’t songs, they’re mosquitoes frozen in amber. The front cover of Interpol shows the band’s name in a state of deconstruction. Well, judging from their past few albums, the band should spend some more time figuring out how to tear their sound apart rather than putting it back together.